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Gap for smart bodyshops

A trend by established small to medium area repair specialists (smart) to move away from mobile repairs into fixed location volume business has opened up a new niche for bodyshops.

Dent Wizard, the biggest paintless dent removal system company in the UK, says market conditions have led it to concentrate on what it terms ‘platform’ work.

Platform is, basically, a lot of vehicles in one place, such as a BCA or Manheim centre, or a fleet remarketer like VRS with large numbers of end-of-contract cars.

“This leaves a gap in the traditional ‘roots’ sector of smart repair. That’s where the specialist repairer has to move from one place to another,” says Dent Wizard spokesman Michael Karwowski.

“Platform is where the big business is, but it does mean there are roots opportunities for smaller operations.”

There is a rapidly growing number of one-man roots bands. But a more recent development is the establishment of smart repair networks.

North Ireland-based Smart Wise, for instance, is expanding in mainland UK. It offers professional business start-up packages that include training, VBRA membership, marketing and technical support for £12,995 + VAT. And now Brown Brothers, part of the Crash Repair Division of Unipart Automotive, has formed a joint venture with smart repair systems manufacturer Bradleys to establish a national network.

A Unipart spokesman says the Brown Brothers-branded Smart Repair Centres of Excellence will be selected for their “location, size, knowledge and commitment to enhance local support and supply levels”. Initially 11 branches will be included. They will target any repairer that wishes to get into smart repair, and supply a full range of materials including plastic, interior and bumper repair products.

Jim Forde, marketing director for Brown Brothers, says: “The drive among bodyshops to improve efficiency levels and reduce cost of repair has led to this joint initiative.

“Our relationship will provide all our customers with access to an exceptional range of motor manufacturer and insurance approved smart repair systems, products and training.”

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